Many great teachers aren't heroic by any desk-wobbling speech but by quiet, unembellished time with...
Alexis Morgan is an exceptional student. She has a prolific resume volunteering for nonprofit organizations such as the Provo Youth Court, Provo Youth City Council, Girls Lobby, and the Provo City Kindness Initiative, and recently landed a position at the Tolman Group Law Farm as a Legal Research Assistant while in high school.
I wanted to learn more about the events that lead to a civic model like Alexis, how other students could use programs she engaged in during high school to bolster post-graduation success, and how Provo City members could take action to uplift their community. Last of all, I wanted to highlight Alexis Morgan for the work that she does daily– few are as deserving of attention and praise as Alexis. Below is a transcript of our interview.
Could you share a bit about yourself?
So I grew up in Provo– I’ve lived here most of my life. My dad grew up in a small town in Colorado, and my mom is Grecian, her family immigrating from Greece. My dad instilled a strong work ethic and my mother’s love for learning. I hope to share some of this love with others.
I’ve also got one younger brother named Cameron, who goes to the Utah County Academy of Sciences while in high school, and he’s working on his Associate in Engineering. Learning is ingrained in the DNA of our family.
Are there any weekend activities that you enjoy?
Truthfully, I typically have something going on Saturday nights. I’m always looking for service opportunities. Most weeks, I work with groups like the Provo Kindness Initiative to cultivate conversations about kindness and understanding on a personal and widespread scale throughout Provo and Orem. I’ve worked with Provo City Council Members. We’ll sometimes chat about upcoming council meetings topics and council them with my opinion if possible. I also love working with nonprofits– I’ve recently taught refugee girls about national and state legislative processes.
Where were those refugees from? Could you share what that process was like?
Multiple countries; Africa, a few from the Middle East– most of the women were from Iran. It was a nonprofit called Girls Lobby. We taught classes on what a bill is and how a bill becomes a law. We also taught courses on how to advocate for yourself and how democracy takes place in the American Government system.
You mentioned that you’ve worked with the Provo Kindness Initiative. Could you go into detail about your work there?
Absolutely! I worked with School Board member Jennifer Partridge on the Provo Kindness Initiative campaign. We try to have local community members– anyone from local business owners to mothers to students– share what empathy and kindness mean to them and offer suggestions on how to show kindness to others in their daily lives.
In your own words, what has been difficult for you to accomplish? You’re obviously proud of all of your accomplishments, but is there an accomplishment that you’re particularly proud of?
I’ve known from a young age that I love advocating for things that I’m passionate about. When I was a Sophomore, I learned about an opportunity to join an internship class. It was a tricky time due to the first outbreak of COVID, but I knew I wanted to do something in law. I remember sending more than twenty resumes over six months to different law firms– and thanks to excellent Provo City School District coordinators and the willing Tolman Group Law Firm, I was able to start an internship. It was daunting at first. I’m still a student; I only have a high-school education. I worked hard to ask questions, regardless of any self-doubts. The district did a great job in training and tools to ask the right questions and learn through work. I’m still working there today as a legal research assistant.
Because of those connections, I have another opportunity at the Utah State Capitol, which I’m also proud of. I’m working with representative Perucci through this legislative session. I’ve loved my time there.
Was there a moment that sparked your interest in law and government?
My time in Provo Youth Court was a catalyst for my time in the law firm. Provo Youth Court is a restorative justice program that is an alternative to juvenile court. We hear B and C Misdemeanors and infractions, creating a disposition for them to follow and graduate, so they don’t have to go to juvenile court. I’ve met so many people and have heard their stories and gained a love for the criminal justice system. I now preside over the Provo Youth Court after three and a half years with the court, and some of that love for advocacy grew there.
What goes into presiding over the Provo Youth Court?
There are several components of the court– organizing officers to train other Youth Panel Members, coordinating dockets, and making sure that Court members and offenders are supposed to be are just a few tasks that I handle. A lot of the work is to help Provo Youth Court members understand that they already have the skills and tools to cultivate a good, healthy environment within their courtroom. The goal is to help the youth offender in the most beneficial manner possible.
I know that you and the Provo City Youth Council visited the Capitol Building to sit in on meetings and meet representatives. You’re more involved to a greater extent there at the building, but is there anything you found remarkable or surprising now that you’ve spent more time seeing the legislative process unfold?
I think what’s remarkable– especially in Utah– is the lane for youth and teenagers to advocate for issues they’re passionate about. No one should feel that they’re too young to have a voice– it isn’t true. If you have a message and are willing to further your message, you can. Representatives and Senators are eager to listen to you further your message.
Where can students start if they identify an issue in their community?
If they identify an issue or something impacting their community, they can start by emailing their representatives, contacting local School Board or City Council members, and involving themselves with Provo City Council meetings. A willingness to identify an issue, investigate and research the problem, and then talk about the topic to others goes a long, long way.
You now have an impressive resume, and you haven’t even graduated. Is there a program you recommend for student readers to join while in high school?
Yes. The Provo CAPS Program. I was a part of it last semester in their Business and Marketing department. We worked at Nuskin’s corporate office during school hours. It’s great– not only do you build your resume, but you get to work with local businesses to solve one of their problems in a student-led project. You create connections while young, but more importantly, you learn how to communicate with a client, you learn time management and project management skills, you learn how to handle deadlines– you build real-world skills now. I worked for Provo City on a pedestrian safety campaign (which you can find here).
What are your post-graduation plans? Where do you see yourself in six months? Six years?
I’ve been accepted to the University of Utah’s Honor College. I want to major in philosophy and eventually move towards law school. I have a profound love for the constitution, and I’d like to be a constitutional lawyer. I’d also like to work with other advocacy groups. I want to listen to others’ perspectives to create a better world for those who need it.